Incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has spent nearly triple the amount of campaign funds in his re-election campaign compared to his challenger, Mike Collier. Patrick is seeking his third-term as leader of the Texas Senate.
A staunch Republican, Patrick is firmly against the legalization of gambling in Texas.
Texas campaign numbers
According to campaign finance reports from the Texas Ethics Commission, Patrick spent roughly $5.1 million compared to the $1.5 million spent by Collier over the last few days. Since Sept. 30, Patrick has raised nearly $3.3 million compared to Collier’s $712,581. And as of Saturday, Patrick reported $16.5 million in cash, more than 100 times Collier’s $128,000.
Records show Patrick has spent upwards of $19 million on advertisements alone. Meanwhile, the Collier campaign has lost $2.1 million in advertising expenses.
If re-elected, Patrick’s political clout could block further efforts to legalize any form of gaming, including Texas sports betting. However, influential casino executives are hoping that’s not the case.
Casino owners donating to Texas republicans
Houston billionaire Tillman Fertitta, owner of Golden Nugget Casino and the Houston Rockets (NBA), donated $100,000 to Patrick’s campaign. Additionally, Patrick received $75,000 from the Texas Sands PAC.
The Sands PAC is managed by Las Vegas Sands Corp., whose majority shareholder Miriam Adelson gave $1 million in September to Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign.
Speaking with KPRC 2 in Houston, Cara Gustafson, a spokesperson for the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, said conversations are ongoing.
The alliance, comprised of professional sports franchises and gambling companies, said its goal is to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2023.
“We’ve been having great ongoing conversations in both chambers on both sides of the aisle. Again, really educating them on what the illegal market is happening here in Texas.”
The Texas legislature only holds regular sessions in odd-numbered years. Thus, if efforts fail next year, legal Texas gambling will be on hold until 2025.